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April 19, 2008

Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man

In 1951, George Whitman opened a bookshop-commune in Paris. George, 92, still runs his "den of anarchists disguised as a bookstore," offering free, dirty beds to poor literati, cutting his hair with a candle and gluing the carpet with pancake batter. More than 40,000 poets, travelers and political activists have stayed at Shakespeare and Company, writing or stealing books, throwing parties and making soup or love while living with George's generosity and fits of anger. Illustrious guests include Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Jacques Prévert, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, James Baldwin and Richard Wright. Welcome to the makeshift utopia of the last member of the Beat Generation

Bookstore finds in Istanbul

A blog about bookshelves

Abandoned Russian Library

Sacred Hunger tells the story of the Liverpool Merchant, an 18th century slaving ship that engages in the infamous Triangle Trade. The largely conscripted crew carries firearms to the west coast of Africa and trades them there for slaves, who are packed into a ship's hold with a ceiling so low they cannot rise from their knees during the entire Atlantic crossing. This is the infamous "middle passage" that brings them to the West Indies, where they are then sold for sugar that will be brought back to England.

It's as brutal a portrait of human behavior as you're ever going to read….”

Completely unrelated: Put that can where your mouth is (YT)

(No Time to blog tonight. Sorry)

A Huge Depository of Unusual Bookstores and Unusual Literary Links Here

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April 19, 2008 in Bookstores | Permalink


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The rest of my blogroll got ignored but I watched 'Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man.' I would never have seen this without it being featured here. Thanks. I enjoyed it very much!

Posted by: Cuidado at Apr 19, 2008 4:27:55 AM

hey thanks for share.

Posted by: ravi at Apr 19, 2008 7:13:09 AM

I didn't know this 'beatnik' enclave so thanks a lot for posting the video about "Shakespeare & Company" bookshop. Incredible place (and owner), it immediately brought me to the W.S. Burroughs's times in Paris during the '50s (roaches include...) If soeday I'll go to that city I'll surely visit the place.

Posted by: Alam at Apr 19, 2008 7:29:46 AM


Thanks so much for posting about George and his great Paris Bookstore; visiting in 2002 my bride and I performed for one of the nightly gatherings (she's a jazz singer and I can back her up in a pinch with a house guitar); George was so cool. Before the gathering, we talked a bit about books but I didn't tell him I was writing one. During a quiet moment he took my hand and said, "I have a feeling we'll be seeing one of your books here someday." It was a huge thrill to send him a copy late last year.

Posted by: Dex Quire at Apr 19, 2008 1:41:09 PM